In one of the houses where we bought pink-and-white peonies the woman said she had a bed, as big as the barn-door, of “June” lilies, and that, as they were going to build a hen-house next autumn on the spot where they grew, she was going to lift some into one of her raised mounds (an awful construction, being a cross between a gigantic dirt pie and a grave), and said that I might have all the spare lily bulbs that I wanted if I would give her what she termed a “hatching” of gladiolus bulbs. Just at present the lilies have entirely disappeared, and nothing but bare earth is visible, but I think from the description that they must be the lovely Madonna lilies of grandmother’s Virginia garden that made a procession from the tea-house quite down to the rose garden, like a bevy of slender young girls in confirmation array. If so, they do not take kindly to handling, and I have an indistinct remembrance of some rather unusual time of year when it must be done if necessary.
Please let me know about this, for I can be of little use in the moving of the evergreens and I want something to potter about in the garden. There are two places for a lily bed, but I am uncertain which is best until I hear from you. Either will have to be thoroughly renovated in the matter of soil, so that I am anxious to start upon the right basis. One of these spots is in full sun, with a slope toward the orchard; in the other the sun is cut off after one o’clock, though there are no overhanging branches; there is also a third place, a squashy spot down in the bend of the old wall.
On our return, toward evening, we met The Man from Everywhere driving down from the reservoir ground toward Opal Farm, a pink-cheeked young fellow of about twenty sharing the road wagon with him. As he has again been away for a few days, we drew up to exchange greetings and The Man said, rather aside, “I’m almost sorry that Larry fell from the skies to help out your gardening, for here is a young German who has come from a distance, with a note from a man I know well, applying for work at the quarry; but there will be nothing suitable for him there for several months, for he’s rather above the average. He would have done very well for you, as, though he speaks little English, I make out that his father was an under-forester in the fatherland. As it is, I’m taking him to the farm with me for the night and will try to think of how I may help him on in the morning.”
Instantly both Maria and I began to tell of Larry’s defection in different keys, the young man meanwhile keeping up a deferential and most astonishing bowing and smiling.
Having secured the seal of Bart’s approval, Meyer has been engaged, and after to-day we must accustom our ears to a change from Larry’s rich brogue to the juicy explosiveness of German; and worse yet, I must rack my brains for the mostly forgotten dialect of the schoolroom language that is learned with such pain and so quickly forgotten.